Diversity and inclusion policies lack data on return on investment

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Having a diversity and inclusion policy is the least effective D&I initiative when it comes to providing any information about return on investment (ROI).

According to new research from recruitment firm Templeton Partners, 45% of companies surveyed said they had implemented a diversity and inclusion policy, but only 24% said they could attribute this to yielding any type of success – such as recruiting a candidate from a BAME background.

By comparison, those who had other initiatives – such as using assessment tools, or having a referral policy or a mentoring scheme – saw near identical levels of implementation and perceived success.


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Speaking to HR magazine, Aimée Treasure, Templeton’s head of marketing, said: “It’s clear having a D&I policy is something that is seen as a bit over-arching, and compared to other, more specific initiatives, it's harder for HRDs to pin success down to this alone.”

She added: “With things like assessment tools, HRDs can check their gender bias stats, or can blank out names or photographs to make sure no recruitment biases creep in – things which are much easier to put an ROI value on. A D&I policy though can be just this – a policy and a signal of intent. It’s often just a document showing intentions rather than anything of specific action.”

She said: “What we would say, however, is that firms can think having a policy is enough – when it isn’t. On it's own it's quite a neutral thing. To really get ROI from it employers actually have to go out and engage with the people they want to hire and find places where they can expand their talent pool.”

Interestingly, the report found that unconscious bias training, something which has risen in public awareness and popularity over the past few years, was the second least effective initiative in terms of measured return.

Overall, the report revealed 90% of both hiring managers and candidates state they want increased diversity in the recruitment process. But 68% of business leaders said they were struggling to recruit diverse candidates, with 30% claiming they were finding it difficult hiring across different ethnic backgrounds.

Age was ranked the second-most challenging diversity group, with 22% of leaders struggling to recruit a wide enough range of age groups.

It also found only one in 10 business leaders said positive discrimination worked.

Using a system of referrals for diverse candidates was seen as the most successful D&I initiative.

The research also revealed race is the most popular diversity group companies want to invest in, with 36% of firms polled actively trying to improve racial diversity. Gender came second, at 34%.